Star Road Stars
6'0"/192 Lbs/33" Inseam
Miles Since Last Issue: 29
After I talked all that trash last time about how it was a "busy time for the Roadie, and it's only getting busier" the brakes went on the project pretty hard. Busy times at the magazine pre-empted busy times for our testosterone-fuelled long-term machine. With something like 20 bikes drifting through the offices and a couple of motorcycle world premieres the Ape Star mostly sat in the back of the garage.
We still have a set of Corbin hard bags waiting to be installed, Road House is still waiting for us to ride out to their Inland Empire HQ for some pipes, still waiting on sissybar sideplates from Yamaha, and the handlebar wiring is still strapped to the outside of the bars. However, our super shop foreman Michael did manage to change the oil and filter, replacing somewhat overworked dino remains with some fresh fluids, and hopefully extending the life of the bike.
We're in talks with Yamaha to give this bike away when we're done with it and we're trying to come up with a fun contest. If you have any ideas, let us know. -BB
Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic
5'7"/155 lbs/30" Inseam
Miles Since Last Issue: 304
I finally decided to swap out the exhaust on the big Kawasaki. The Vulcan's stock pipes are fine as far as I'm concerned, but Cobra's Camron Bussard is pretty persuasive, and I recently found myself unpacking the company's Speedster units on a recent afternoon
I did tell the Cobra guys upfront about my tree-hugging neighbors. "There will pitchforks and torches outside my garage if I put on straight pipes," I said. To which Camron coolly replied: "While the Speedsters are louder than stock, we offer a quiet core option. Not even your granola neighbors will complain."
The package arrived with quality triple-chromed, shotgun-styled pipes and full-length, 222-degree heat shields. The billet slashdown tips and two Quiet Cores also came in the box. Camron also assured me there'd be no power loss thanks to a special chamber inside the Speedsters called the PowerPort. It connects both pipes at about mid-length and is positioned on their back side in the muffler section. Because it functions like a collector box, Cobra says it increases overall power.
I installed the Speedsters with the user-friendly mounting hardware and instructions (though the o2 sensor gave me fits). Because the PowerPort is in the muffler, you can wrench on the head pipes first, then slip on the muffler body section.
I have to admit the Speedsters look sharp, and on my initial runs, the sound was pretty good out of the box-not tinny or obnoxious (though definitely louder than stock). But they do need tuning, because despite the deep rumble, there's plenty of backfiring. I'm not done here by a long shot. I'll ask Cobra for their latest Fi2000 to smooth out fueling and play with the settings. A dyno run to measure gains or losses is in the cards too.
So far no irate villagers have appeared outside my abode, but I figure it's still early days...-AC